A number of House Republicans who voted in favor of granting a waiver for General James Mattis to serve as President Trump’s secretary of defense now say they won’t do the same for Austin, who would become just the third secretary of defense in U.S. history to be granted the waiver.
“I was brand new to Congress, I voted for the waiver for General Mattis — and in hindsight, that was a mistake,” Representative Jim Banks (R., Ind.) told National Review. “At the time, we addressed it as an extraordinary moment, extraordinary circumstances. And here we are just four years later talking about granting a waiver again, further deteriorating the civilian control of our military.”
While Banks, who was recently elected chairman of the Republican Study Commission, “respects and admires” Mattis, he believes the choice, in retrospect, was the wrong one.
“What we did learn from that is a career military official, whose military service was very, very fresh and who was oftentimes in stark disagreement with the approach of the commander in chief — that’s a dangerous precedent to set,” he explained.